UNDERSTANDING TOP DOWN BOTTOM UP MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION METHODS
These days there’s a false bias between management and organization models. They are presented (be it top down; bottom up or any of the others) as if they were irreconcilable. This post presents the top down and bottom up methods to help you find the balance needed for effective results management within your company.
Top down bottom up methods: understand the differences
The more traditional methods of management – associated as the top down methodology, in which managers completely established all the planning stages, have been eroded by technological innovations and recent changes in the business environment.
The importance of training team members and the need to get the best out of each employee led to the implementation of the bottom up methodology. In it, business goals are established by the team, and the responsibility for planning the exact details is left to the professionals who will effectively work on the project.
Managers for example, tend to be “labeled” in two ways: you are a traditional manager (top down) who believes in the organizational power of clear chains of command or a collaborative manager (bottom up) who bets on horizontal organizations, enacting the role of facilitator.
Defenders of both methods argue over which alternative is best and offer reasons why one should join one and abandon the other. However, the mark of a good manager is the recognition that the more complex the challenge, the lesser the chances of solving it through simple choices.
The truth is that the top down and bottom up methods are not mutually exclusive. Finding the balance between the two, however, is not always easy to achieve.
Rise of the bottom up
The bottom up methodology emerged from the egalitarian ideals that swept the Western world in the 20th century. It emphasizes participation as the best way to develop all the skills and abilities that a company’s professionals have to offer.
Even though the roots of these ideas have been circulating around the world for some decades, the bottom up method is still especially, in our country, presented as a novelty. For its followers, even large companies until recently haven’t been able to learn from their valuable experience.
It is obvious that bottom up management has its advantages. From the contribution of a large number of people, the chances of success and achievement are considerably increased: you can take advantage of the best ideas from trained and experienced professionals, instead of just dictating tasks that must be performed within a certain deadline.
As well as this the bottom up method contributes to reviving professional pride, a sense of belonging and team spirit in employees – crucial elements to increase the engagement, motivation and consequently the productivity of the workforce.
The resurgence of the top down
While the bottom up methodology is often associated with innovation in results type management, the top down method has remained very important in practice and recently there’s been important measures towards its rehabilitation within organization of procedures.
top down defines clear direction and does not always value everyone’s contribution equally. Steve Jobs for example, dominated the consumer technology market with unique products and design choices that belonged exclusively to Apple. Rarely listening to focus groups or following existing trends.
Needless to say, the top down method was effective for Apple’s results. In the space of just a few years, it has become one of the most successful companies in history and its brand is widely recognized worldwide.
Beyond the many criticisms directed at Jobs’ management and organization style, its effectiveness and it’s resounding success make it difficult to support the opposite theory, suggesting that only the bottom up method is capable of leading companies to adopt innovative strategies.
In some contexts, strong and visionary management is required to establish a clear sense of direction. Otherwise the company tends to get lost in a tangle of disconnected opinions that in the end can lead to a weak committee design.
Application of the top down bottom up method; in results management
The reality is that managers and other management professionals can and must employ both methods at their side. Neither method works well when completely taken into account. Within the company there’s usually room for coexistence. The reason is simple: the usefulness of any methodology depends on what you want to achieve.
Choosing the right method is in itself, a big challenge. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to provide guidance to the team and organize the company’s goals. Fundamentally, this responsibility is related to the top down method: you must define the objectives and ensure that they are not overlooked.
Above all, when it comes to performance, it doesn’t mean that you have to direct every detailed task. On the contrary, it could be extremely damaging. The same position that gives you the power of decision is commonly the one that also prevents everything from falling apart.
Therefore, set the parameters for your organization starting with management (top down) – this should include goals, design and the type of brand you want to create etc. Then use these parameters to frame decisions from the grass roots upwards (bottom-up).
As well as this, these parameters should not be restrictive, as your workforce needs a certain level of self-reliance to develop its creative potential. Thus, top down is the unfolding of goals and bottom up is the consolidation of them.
If you have good ideas for products or innovative processes, you can involve a wide range of employees to assist you in planning and implementing the project.
As such, it will be possible to strengthen a truly dynamic and supportive management culture and at the same time, let your team decide how best to make this happen. Top down methods bottom up methods, will bring results within management optimization if you place a value on each idea presented. This can only add to increasing the levels of commitment and engagement from your team.
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